Who might the Magic play in the first round of the playoffs?
Let's take a look at those teams' remaining schedules:
WAS (37-34, 5th East): 5 home games, 2 against over .500 teams (BOS, PHI) and 3 against under .500 teams (MIL, MIA, IND). 6 away games, 4 against over .500 teams (at LAL, at UT, at DET, at ORL) and 2 against under .500 teams (at SAC, at CHI). Projected finish: 6-5 (43-39).
PHI (37-35, 6th East): 5 home games, 3 against over .500 teams (PHO, DET, CLE) and 2 against under .500 teams (ATL, IND). 5 away games, 2 against over .500 teams (at CLE, at WAS) and 3 against under .500 teams (at NJ, at ATL, at CHA). Projected finish: 6-4 (43-39).
TOR (36-35, 7th East): 6 home games, 1 against an over .500 team (NO), and 5 against under .500 teams (NY, CHA, MIL, NJ, MIA). 5 away games, 1 against an over .500 team (at DET) and 4 against under .500 teams (at CHA, at ATL, at NJ, at CHI). Projected finish: 8-3 (44-38).
The Raptors have the easiest schedule of the three teams, which makes them the most likely to finish fifth and avoid the Magic in the first round. WAS and PHI could finish in a tie for sixth in my scenario. They play each other once more. PHI holds a 2-1 season edge over WAS.
I think all three teams are capable of winning a couple of games against the Magic in a playoff series. The Wizards may have Gilbert Arenas back, the Raptors already have Chris Bosh back, and the 76ers are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, so each team is dangerous in their own way. but I believe the Magic would win a seven game series against any one of those teams.
Should be an interesting finish.